Hate sites and Web 2.0: Really? Duhh

Posted on November 19, 2008 
Filed Under Internet

The AFP has a nasty habit of doing hatchet jobs on the net in stories like this one: Web 2.0 gives new tools to hate groups: experts


Social networks MySpace and Facebook and video-sharing site YouTube are being used as powerful new tools by extremist groups to spread a message of hate, participants in a conference on Internet hate speech warned here on Monday.

“MySpace, Facebook and YouTube are the ‘killer apps’ of the Internet today, and they’re used by millions, but the virus of hate certainly has infected those technologies,” Christopher Wolf, chair of the International Network Against CyberHate (INACH), told the Global Summit on Internet Hate Speech.

“The Internet continues to be exploited by people who espouse hate in many different ways — anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, racists, homophobes and terrorists,” Wolf said on the opening day of the two-day event hosted by the French embassy.

“The Internet toolbox that is available to hatemongers has had a number of new items added to it over the last several years,” Wolf said, citing Web 2.0 features such as blogs, social networks, video sites and instant messaging.

Take the same headline, change it to “Web gives new tools to hate groups: experts”, interview the same so-called “experts” and place it anywhere circa 1994 and you will see what I mean.

That this story will receive a lot of airplay in dying print newspapers, manned by closet web-hating editors clinging on to the “good old days” of their profession is a given. AFP really knows its market.

“Spread the fear! Web 2.0 is gonna kill you! Another reason to log off, log out, run for cover!”

The un-named reporter for this piece did not find one single dissenting voice on the subject at the conference. It’s heavily biased in spreading the false premise that hate is all around us online.

Social networks, mobile networks and the web have a huge potential for doing good online – for effecting change, for improving people’s lives, for organising like-minded people in causes that matter, and spreading understanding, tolerance and yes, even, love.

As long as I have been on Facebook, I have never once been solicited to join a hate group to “demonize Jews and Muslims and Gays and other minorities”. Unless you consider the Vampire Bites app is an insidious Transylvanian tool of human-haters.

This kind of sloppy, one-sided, fear-inducing journalism is dead, dead, dead. And AFP should know better to encourage such reporters to report such stories without including a single counter viewpoint within.

For journalists still spreading the fear online, please take a long, hard look in a mirror and ask yourselves : “Why am I so afraid of the big, bad Web 2.0?”


One Response to “Hate sites and Web 2.0: Really? Duhh”

  1. knutalbert on March 20th, 2009 7:50 pm

    I totally agree. The new tools build bridges across age gaps, cultures and other boundaries. You could replace “facebook” with “online shopping”, too, which leads to plunder, ruin and identity theft. Blah.

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